Ringworm effects on the skin
Ringworm is a skin infection which, despite its name, is not caused by a worm at all. Ringworm is actually caused by several fungus organisms known as dermatophytes.
Ringworm is not caused by a worm. It is caused by a fungus. The kinds of fungi (plural of fungus) that cause ringworm live and spread on the top layer of the skin and on the hair. They grow best in warm, moist areas, such as locker rooms and swimming pools, and in skin folds.
Although the world is full of yeasts, molds, and fungi, only a few cause skin problems. These agents are called the dermatophytes, which means "skin fungi." Skin fungi can only live on the dead layer of keratin protein on top of the skin. They rarely invade deeper into the body and cannot live on mucous membranes, such as those in the mouth or vagina.
Body ringworm (tinea corporis) may be caused by Trichophyton, Microsporum, or Epidermophyton. The infection generally produces round patches with pink scaly borders and clear areas in the center. Sometimes the rash is itchy. Body ringworm can develop anywhere on the skin and can spread rapidly to other parts of the body or to other people with whom there is close bodily contact.
Ringworm is very mildly contagious. It can be caught from domestic animals (especially dogs and cats) as well as most farm animals. The infection can be caught from the animal directly, or from anything the animal rubs against. Ringworm can also be caught from other humans, both by direct contact and by prolonged contact with flakes of shed skin.
Ringworm of the scalp may start as a small sore that resembles a pimple before becoming patchy, flaky, or scaly. It may cause some hair to fall out or break into stubbles. It can also cause the place where the infection is to become swollen, tender, and red.
Anyone can get Ringworm . Scalp Ringworm often strikes young children; outbreaks have been recognized in schools, day-care centers, and infant nurseries . School athletes are at risk for scalp Ringworm, Ringworm of the body, and foot Ringworm; there have been outbreaks among high school wrestling teams . Children with young pets are at increased risk for Ringworm of the body.
There are several other skin conditions that can mimic the ring-like appearance of ringworm. None of these, however, are serious. They include eczema, contact dermatitis, psoriasis and seborrhea. If treatment for ringworm fails, your doctor may consider these other possibilities.
Scalp and beard infections may cause patches of baldness. In scalp infections, the lymph nodes at the back of the neck may become swollen and tender. Inflammation and scaling are usually fairly mild and may look like a patch of dandruff.
Diagnosis is usually made based on the appearance of the typical ringworm rash. Cultures, especially scalp cultures for tinea capitis, can be done though. Topical steroids are a usual first treatment most parents use, but this can change the appearance of ringworm, so be sure to mention to your Pediatrician if you have been applying any topical creams to your child's rash.
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